Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Alberta Health Services says it has withdrawn its contempt of court application against a Calgary pastor who was arrested earlier this month on allegations of violating COVID-19 laws.

Tim Stephens was arrested May 9 for allegedly organizing a church service that was held earlier in the day at Fairview Baptist Church, which police said did not comply with public health orders.

An injunction obtained by Alberta Health Services (AHS) on May 6 mandated that event organizers comply with public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits.

Story continues below advertisement

AHS, the agency that delivers health care in Alberta, says in a statement that it withdrew its application against Stephens due to an issue of mistaken identity when the injunction was served.

The Justice Centre, a Canadian legal organization, says that three of its lawyers representing Stephens discovered that AHS never served the pastor with the court order he was accused of having violated.

The organization says in a statement that the mistake means the case against Stephens has been dropped.

“Pastor Stephens was never served with a copy of the court injunction, a prerequisite for the enforcement of an injunction,” the Justice Centre said in its statement Friday.

“Calgary Police Service officers erroneously served a copy of the injunction upon another individual who is not Pastor Stephens. At no time did (the police) ever serve the injunction upon Pastor Stephens.”

The injunction was issued after dozens of anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside the Whistle Shop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta. AHS then said it would take legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders.

The agency said it closed the cafe after it received more than 400 complaints against the business since January.

Story continues below advertisement

In its statement Friday, AHS said it will continue to enforce the order on “all other organizers of advertised illegal gatherings and rallies that breach COVID-19 public health orders.”

“AHS strongly condemns the intentional disobeying of COVID-19 public health restrictions.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies